DES­TINY 2

Empire (Australasia) - - Review Games -

DI­REC­TOR Luke Smith

CAST Nathan Fil­lion, Lance Red­dick, Gina Torres, Neil Ka­plan

PLOT Alien race The Ca­bal, led by Domi­nus

Ghaul (Ka­plan), mounts an at­tack on Earth’s one re­main­ing stronghold, kid­nap­ping the Trav­eller (the source of your pow­ers) in the process. Your mis­sion: to de­feat him and take back the planet.

RE­MEM­BER WHEN THE first Des­tiny came out, and it was ef­fec­tively with­out a plot? Re­call how it took a year, un­til third ex­pan­sion The Taken King, for de­vel­oper Bungie to re­ally de­cide what the game was meant to be? That mis­take has been sidestepped this time. Des­tiny 2 is a fuller, richer and deeper game in ev­ery re­spect, from plot to game­play me­chan­ics.

Pick­ing up one year af­ter the events of the Rise Of Iron ex­pan­sion, Des­tiny 2 be­gins at the end — as hu­man­ity’s fi­nal bas­tion, the Last City, falls be­fore Domi­nus Ghaul (Ka­plan) and his

Red Le­gion army. It’s an open­ing salvo that plays like the orig­i­nal game, but it doesn’t last. All the fa­mil­iar el­e­ments are then stripped away in the wake of Ghaul’s con­quest of Earth. It’s a choice that works well on two lev­els, mov­ing the story along for re­turn­ing play­ers who know the lore, while pre­sent­ing a grip­ping be­gin­ning for new­com­ers that doesn’t re­quire them to have ploughed hun­dreds of hours into the orig­i­nal game.

It also ups the stakes — in Des­tiny 2’ s main cam­paign, it feels as if the fu­ture of Earth is re­ally and truly on the line in a way that hadn’t come across pre­vi­ously. Best of all, the story is ac­tu­ally in the game this time, rather than be­ing re­vealed through those ob­nox­ious gri­moire cards you had to visit the of­fi­cial web­site to read.

While the three core char­ac­ter classes — Hunter, War­lock, and Ti­tan — re­turn, new sub­classes of­fer a way to mix up skills and su­per moves. War­locks, for in­stance, re­tain the orig­i­nal ‘Void­walker’ sub­class, though slightly mod­i­fied, but gains the new ‘Dawn­blade’, with a su­per move that un­leashes shards of dev­as­tat­ing light-knives from the air. It’s a nice way to di­ver­sify your play style, with wild-card at­tacks that dif­fer from your core pro­fi­cien­cies.

The world of Des­tiny 2 im­presses, too. From the wilds of Earth be­yond the fallen city to space bat­tles of a scale that al­most dwarfs the imag­i­na­tion, it’s more imag­i­na­tive and vis­ually spec­tac­u­lar than any­thing in the first game.

Post-story, you’ll have a fa­mil­iar ar­ray of Strikes and Cru­cible mis­sions, ex­pand­ing the co-op and ver­sus game­play and ac­ces­si­ble from the new so­cial area, the Farm. These feel fairly im­ma­te­rial at present, but this is Des­tiny

— ex­pect the va­ri­ety of con­tent and chal­lenges to ex­pand as the months go by. Thank­fully, though, the orig­i­nal post-game’s more oner­ous tasks have now been done away with, mean­ing you won’t have to spend count­less hours lev­el­ling-up new guns or farm­ing He­lium on the moon.

How­ever, a few cu­ri­ous changes from the orig­i­nal do ran­kle. There’s no more free play of story mis­sions, only ‘Med­i­ta­tions’, a cu­rated se­lec­tion of three mis­sions, playable at a higher level. Your Guardian is now more cus­tomis­able, with in­di­vid­ual ar­mour pieces now re­paintable, but the Shaders used to do it are now con­sum­able — and avail­able to buy through mi­cro­trans­ac­tions. Most baf­fling, Spar­rows — the hov­er­bike ve­hi­cles syn­ony­mous with the first game — are now ran­dom loot drops, mak­ing ex­plor­ing the world slower than is ideal.

Over­all, though, Des­tiny 2 is a de­light, im­prov­ing on the orig­i­nal’s ac­ces­si­bil­ity and sto­ry­telling. The al­ready hooked should pre­pare to pour an­other few years of their life into this, and pre­pare to meet a whole slew of en­thu­si­as­tic new­com­ers along the way. MATT KA­MEN

VER­DICT Lessons learnt from the re­lease of the orig­i­nal game, Des­tiny 2 feels fully formed, even at launch. Epic sci-fi game­play at its most com­pelling, it will surely en­gen­der an­other huge fol­low­ing.

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